Summer and road trips fit together like ice-cream cones and 90 degree temperatures. Here’s a list of must haves while embracing white-line fever:
- Good Company: Nothing’s worse than being trapped in a car for endless hours with someone you’d rather leave by the roadside. Luckily for me, I have a trio of boys who are the best possible company. Well, that is if you don’t mind a little whining about how long until we get to a pool.
- Good Music: I’m far from a music aficionado. However, if you’re going to be rolling down the highway for several hours, you want to have worthy tunes. Some of our favorites? Justin Townes Earl, Wilco, The Shins, Johnny Cash, and Ani Difranco, among others.
- Destination: Growing up, we didn’t take vacations, so I’m easy to please. Small-town-family visits, state-park campgrounds, or big-city hotels all work just fine for me.
- Budget: I like to have a budget for the time we’ll be on the road. I usually break it down by day and use cash. It becomes a game to see how close we can come to staying within the budget without going over—The Price Is Right rules. I know; it’s super geeky!
- Snacks: We like homemade banana bread, fresh fruit, and Takis. But you can’t leave home without a little sugary treat; licorice and candy necklaces are easy to pack and fun, too.
- Backpack: My husband and I once spent a month in Italy with just one backpack each. While I haven’t been able to keep up with that type of minimalism since the boys arrived, I strive to be a better packer and wear everything I take.
- Comforts of Home: Everybody needs that little something that makes him/her comfortable. Maybe it’s slippers or a stuffed animal or comfy jeans. The boys each carry a little pillow that a friend made for them. It fits easily in the car and lets them grab onto a little piece of home even when they’re hours away.
- GPS Device: Recently, we threw out our atlas; we realized that Mapquest on our phone works just as well and takes up a lot less space. But, I do miss spreading out those big pages of a Rand McNally and leafing through areas of the country where we could visit someday.
- Flexible Itinerary: Okay, I’m not good with this one. Sometimes, I’m a little too goal oriented. When you can, it helps to let things happen naturally. Unplanned events can be the most memorable.
- Enjoy the Ride: After riding for over five hours to get to my sister’s house, my three-year-old nephew got out of the car rubbing his rear end and said, “My butt hurts!” Hopefully, the time you spend together outweighs some of the (back)side effects of that long car ride.
What’s the best road trip you’ve ever taken? Why?